A jubilant début in Magazyn Wino

After a lifetime’s fascination with food (or, one can hope, half a lifetime’s...) and apparently enough food-writing practice on my own blog, I’m delighted to report on my new partnership with Poland’s premier wine culture bimonthly, Magazyn Wino. Working closely with the editors of this eminent publication, I will be creating texts and images celebrating the lesser-known side of simple ingredients and fundamental techniques.

The first story, pictured, delves deep into what most people probably don’t know about potatoes. The next one will take on a full season’s worth of jam making basics (and the ones to follow are still in development).

It’s a big honor and a tremendous learning opportunity—and one hell of a reason for me to raise a glass.

Madness, indeed

Going through my possessions in an effort to further streamline the functional and aesthetic scope of my small family’s belongings, I happened upon what I deem the most random collection of things I could possibly find. I am astonished as to how I might have thought that a complete set of McFarlane’s “Six Faces of Madness” collectible figures would ever be something I actually wanted. Alas, I am the puzzled owner of a mint-condition series of eight-inch-tall toy monsters inspired by classic literature, all in their original, never-opened packaging. If I remember correctly, I got the whole set for twenty bucks each, so for $120, at a store just off Union Square. It was my life’s ultimate impulse buy, and it took place on the eve of the day I left the U.S. for good, which means I bought these things on July 2, 2004. I recall the figures just barely fitting into my luggage (two giant DDB-branded portfolio carriers I lifted from my corporate alma mater).

So now I have this interesting problem, which is how to unload this odd collection and at least get my money back—or ourtight make a profit, given how this kind of limited-edition drivel sometimes appreciates. The challenges: I’m not on eBay, I’m not interested in getting on eBay, ditto for the Polish counterpart Allegro, I don’t know the gaming scene, and I’m in no position to make a quick deal with some reseller of memorabilia at a shop near Union Square.

Any takers out there? Best offer wins.

Product photography by the author, accomplished in daylight with the infallible Leica X1 in mid-February 2016.

Scenes from a renovation

With the first Warsaw snow came the first signs of quiet order at the construction site that is a family’s metamorphic home. Now the turnpikes of electric wire are forgotten under walls that are smooth and white. Now six different versions of grey glass mosaic tiles are no longer lost in transit on their way from Spain but painstakingly affixed to a dozen and a half planes of shower and bathroom surface. Now the men are familiar and trusted as they come and go to replace the windows and wheel in the supplies and do plastering and lay six kinds of tiny grey tiles.

All photos by Natalia Osiatynska, taken in daylight with the Leica X1 on the 17th, 12th or 10th of January, 2016.

Project of the year

Twenty-fifteen had its share of memorable news and milestone moments: a boy’s first loose tooth, a mom’s parasurgical corneal procedure, a family’s collective despair following two separate major elections. But strangest of all, and most exhilarating (and most fear-inducing, at times) was the mayhem that unfolded when we vacated our apartment in early November and its gut renovation process began. Wilder still than the noise and expense is of course the way these remarkable circumstances have come to be the new normal.

Anker and I are thrilled and baffled to welcome the new year from our temporary quarters just two floors down from the construction site that is set to re-emerge as our much-improved home in just a couple more months (which will either manifest as many long weeks or a downright blur of constant decision-making intensity). It’s fair to say we’re about halfway home—and we look forward to loads of well-deserved nesting in 2016.

Happy new year, everyone. And we hope you enjoy this year’s... deconstructivist family album.